bio ethanolNovozymes and its Chinese partner COFCO signs an agreement with another Chinese energy and oil company Sinopec for the possible commercial-scale production of cellulosic bioethanol from corn stover.

To date, China is the second-biggest corn producer globally, next to the US. The US Department of Agriculture projects a 16.5 million metric tons produce from China this year. That amounts to at least 20.9% of the worlds total corn production.

The US, on the other hand, produces an average of 307.39 million tons of corn every year. This makes up for about 38.9% of the world’s total corn production.

China is also a big corn consumer overall: 72% of the country’s produce is used as feed; 20% as ingredients for biofuel, starch and sugar; and 1% are sold as food. The remaining 7% is either used as seed to replenish supply, or is amounted to harvest loss.

Novozymes, as a leader in technology, sees vast potential in China’s bioethanol production. They hope to be the first company to be prepared for large-scale production by 2010. The company has been associated with the development of conversion processes and advanced enzymes necessary for churning agricultural waste to second-generation bioethanol.

COFCO, on the other hand, is the leading producer and supplier of processed agricultural products in China.

With the two company’s partnership with Sinopec, the third-largest oil refiner in the world, this large-scale bioethanol production should be possible. Sinopec holds 60% of China’s refined-oil market.

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